SOPHIE

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Prod­uct

Al­though SOPHIE (aka Sa­muel Long) first drew at­ten­tion in 2013 for “Noth­ing More to Say,” it was the un­de­ni­able plas­tic pop of “Bipp” that es­tab­lished his sound and made him a sought-af­ter pro­ducer. His aes­thetic, which loosely re­flects that of his pals on PC Mu­sic, is as vinyl-smooth as that la­bel’s pop con­fec­tions, but har­bours a la­tent dark­ness, too; there’s some­thing threat­en­ing about the manic en­ergy of SOPHIE’s mu­sic, and it adds a layer of in­trigue to Prod­uct. A col­lec­tion of sin­gles over the past three years, Prod­uct — avail­able as a down­load, CD, 4x12-inch or as a black sex toy re­ferred to as a “sil­i­con prod­uct” — pro­vides a glimpse of an artist whose flir­ta­tion with Top 40 (he’s pro­duced for Madonna, Charli XCX and Le1f) is tem­pered by a feel­ing that he’s cri­tiquing pop as much as pay­ing trib­ute to it. The pre­vi­ously re­leased “Lemon­ade” is punc­tu­ated by a sweet, com­puter-per­fected cho­rus that pro­fesses that, “When I’m with you, ev­ery­thing’s okay,” but it stands in stark con­trast to the sput­ter­ing, of­fk­il­ter verses of the song; its B-side is as “Hard” as its ti­tle, slam­ming metal one mo­ment and sprin­kling fairy dust the next. The new tracks add slightly new di­men­sions: “MSMSMSM” is an in­sis­tent club banger not un­like “Hard,” while “Vyzee” fea­tures the same singer as “Bipp.” The crown­ing achieve­ment is the an­themic “Just Like We Never Said Good­bye,” which fea­tures SOPHIE’s catchi­est melody to date over sparse pro­duc­tion. The slow roll-out of sin­gles over the past few months lead­ing up to its re­lease makes Prod­uct hard to con­sider as a sin­gu­lar, co­he­sive pack­age, but as a primer on SOPHIE, it’s as good as it gets, a snap­shot of an ex­cit­ing artist whose tightrope walk be­tween pop and avant-garde has yielded some of the best sin­gles of re­cent years. (Num­bers, nm­brs.net) STEPHEN CARLICK

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